Interesting day in Washoe with the two parties casting almost identical numbers of ballots, Democrats 3431 versus Republicans 3396. For trend watchers this may be disappointing but a Republican turnout at 99% of the Democrat vote is better than any day in 2008. While we would hope for a straight line of continually increasing Republican gains, the reality is it will be an up and down affair (must resist Kate Upton reference) throughout the early voting. Democrats are fairly stable with their turnout while Republicans peaked on Tuesday and have steadily fallen back towards the Democrat’s level. The key will be whether this downward slope is a trend or an aberration. The aggregate ballot lead for Democrats stands at 1019, down from 7161 at the same point in 2008. Similar to what we are seeing in Clark County, the Independent/Other category remains on a slow but steady upward march. This group could be the key in the election if Romney is seeing near the double-digit leads he is enjoying in national polls and some state polling.
The Washoe model
We waited a day to make changes to our assumptions and that was the right call. With the relatively flat day-over-day result the 2012 rate of growth between the Republican turn out and Democrats is 4.1%, higher than our initial estimate of 3.85% that we’ve been using but well off the 7.1% as of yesterday. At the same time the steady Democrat turnout confirms the overestimation of Democrat enthusiasm this cycle so we are adjusting the expected Dem turnout to 3358 from 3985 until the expected ramp-up turnout starting next week. We are modeling the ramp-up as the turnout % relative to the day 1 result but it may be wiser to estimate week two turnout as a percent of the prior week’s average turnout. We’ll think about that over the weekend after we get Friday’s results and tweak accordingly. As it stands with a new growth rate in GOP turnout of 4.1% relative to the Democrats turnout, Republicans would have a final early vote lead in ballots cast of 5793. This compares with a 11,978 ballot advantage Democrats enjoyed heading into election day in 2008.
Finally away from Washoe, I have one hell of a source regarding Clark County early voting:
Just wanted to update you on Clark’s numbers. We should start seeing movement towards [the GOP] next week. The thing the press doesn’t pick up on is that most of the early vote locations are mobile so they move from supermarket to supermarket, community center to community center for a 1,2 or 3 day period. Starting today and next week we start getting locations in our strong areas so the results should narrow.
Something to keep an eye on going forward.
Did I just bury the lede?